Just a warning before we begin. This episode contains graphic depictions of violence and drug use. We'll give you a heads up before sharing a disturbing account of sexual assault. Please take care while listening.
Previously on The James Brown Mystery...A circus singer named Jacque Hollander is convinced that the legendary Godfather of Soul was murdered. Skeptical of this claim, we head to her home outside Chicago and find proof that Jacque was indeed connected to James Brown. While there we discover a videotape of a polygraph test Jacque took back in 1995 that shows she was telling the truth about a harrowing encounter with Brown. But what else are we missing?
Thomas Lake, Recording
You don't want anything. I guess?
I will just take a simple little decaf coffee with cream and sugar.
It's a cool gray afternoon in early September. Jacque Hollander and I are in the drive thru line at Starbucks in Rockford, Illinois, waiting for our coffee. We're talking about my recent attempts to solve the mysteries of James Brown's life and death and what effect my reporting might have on Jacque.
I mean, I could be "ch-ch-ch" tomorrow.
Thomas Lake, Recording
What does that mean, "ch-ch-ch"?
You know, whoever they are go "ch-ch-ch"
Thomas Lake, Recording
That's supposed to be a gun?
Yeah, that's the best one I got.
When Jacque jokes around like this, I laugh, but I also feel a little uneasy. I've been working on this story for three months and I've made real progress. Doors are opening, people are talking. Jacque is alleging that James Brown and his third wife, Adrienne, were murdered. And little by little, I'm finding evidence that supports her theories. But as I stumble through the shadows of this strange new world kicking various hornets nests, it's hard to know if I'm putting her in danger. Sometimes she thinks I might save her life. Other times she thinks I could get her killed.
I'm going to get killed in all of this. I'm telling you, I'm going to get killed.
Who is Jacque so afraid of? Right now, it's the same people she suspects of conspiring to kill James Brown. She thinks these people have already silenced Brown's son in law, Darren "Chip" Lumar, who went on TV to raise questions about Brown's death. The following year, Lumar was shot to death, apparently by a hitman in a murder that remains unsolved. Jacque thinks the same thing could happen to her. She wasn't always so afraid, but one night in 1988, something terrible happened. This is the incident she was questioned about during the polygraph test you heard in the last episode. A former FBI agent administered the test and we found the recording in Jacque's storage.
Had you been working with James at that time?
While you were in the van with James Brown that day, were you afraid that you were going to be killed?
This encounter with James Brown in 1988 explains a lot about who Jacque is today and how she came to believe Brown was murdered. In order to understand James Brown's life and death, you need to know what happened to Jacque on the night her life changed forever. From CNN, this is The James Brown Mystery. I'm your host, Thomas Lake. This is episode two: Daffodils.
Let's go back to the very first time Jacque met James Brown. This was long before the first time they worked together. Jacque wasn't a songwriter yet. It was 1968, and Jacque was just a kid. It's a pretty amazing story. She and her father were at the airport in Atlanta, where they like to go sometimes to watch the planes take off and land. People used to do this for entertainment. Jacque was 12 or 13 and she was battling intestinal cancer. It would go into remission a few years later, but at that time, she was this frail child with reddish blond hair. She looked thin and weak. Jacque was in the airport with her dad when they noticed a very well-dressed man.
And he had on this fur. Oh, my gosh. It was everywhere. He looked like Santa Claus to me.
He looked like Santa Claus?
Yes. Because of the fur all over his jacket. And my dad said to me, no, that's not Santa Claus. That's James Brown.
This would have been about 1968. The year that song "Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud" came out. James Brown was near the peak of his fame and power. He entertained American troops in Vietnam, helped prevent rioting in Boston and Washington after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He even had dinner at the White House with President Lyndon Johnson. On the day James Brown first met Jacque, I imagined him striding through the airport in his extravagant fur coat at the center of an entourage with tough men shielding him from fans who wanted an autograph. This would make it all the more surprising that he went out of his way to greet someone who didn't even know his name.
And he knelt down and he said hello. And he asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. And I said, I want to be a songwriter and I want to write big songs.
Jacque always wanted to be a songwriter. She got her first guitar at age six. A neighbor taught her to play her first G chord. She would sit outside singing her songs and strumming that little Silvertone guitar until her fingers felt like they were on fire. But at that age, she was afraid she might be dying. And there at the airport, she told James Brown about it.
I told him that I was sick and that I didn't know if I would get well. And he told me as long as I believed in myself and fought, I would.
He basically told me, you know, he said, when you become that songwriter–and I know you're going to–he goes, I want the first song. And I said, I promise. And I think I hugged him.
James Brown scribbled some words of encouragement onto a piece of paper and gave it to Jacque. Then the man in the fur coat took off. Though she was sick on and off for years after meeting him, Jacque remembered her conversation with The Godfather of Soul, and she devoted her life to making music. In her quest to become a songwriter. Jacque had some advantages. She grew up outside Atlanta. Near a recording studio, she called The Old Schoolhouse. And her parents knew one of the men who ran the place, which meant she could bring her guitar over there and wander the halls and learn from these musicians who were cranking out real hits, like this one:.
Down in the boondocks. Down in the boondocks.
That Billie Joe Royal song hit the Billboard charts in 1965, the year Jacque turned ten. She met Billy Joe at the old schoolhouse as a child. She says they called him The One-Take Wonder because he could walk into the studio and sing a song perfectly, on the very first take. Another guy Jacque saw often at the old schoolhouse, Joe South, who won a Grammy Award for this song: Games people Play.
Oh the games people play now. Every night and every day now. Never meaning what they say now.
Jacque learned all she could from her musical heroes. As a teenager, she played and sang at bars and coffeehouses. But she felt more at home behind the scenes, writing in her notebook or recording in the studio. Another regular at the old school house was Dean Daughtry. Dean played keyboards for a Southern rock band called the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Love is kind of crazy with a spooky little girl like you.
That song, a cover called Spooky, hit the Billboard Top 20 and the album went gold. Around that time. Dean and Jacque went out on a date. Dean was in his mid-thirties, Jacque in her mid-twenties.
And he said to me that night, You look like Grace Kelly. And he said, I'm going to marry you. You will be my wife. And I thought, Oh, you're crazy. You're really crazy. But he spoke the truth.
In 1983, Jacque and Dean got married and settled down in Atlanta. She'd come a long way since she was that thin, frail child that James Brown met at the airport in 1968. She was a songwriter now, just as Brown predicted. She even wrote a song for Billie Joe Royal, the One-Take Wonder who'd she'd met as a kid at The Old Schoolhouse. And as a songwriter, she wrote and starred in radio ad jingles like this one.
Step into The Direct Connection whoa whoa whoa
Jacque Hollander, in the ad
I buy all my jewelry at The Direct Connection where everything is...
That's Jacque, who, for purposes of this ad, is somehow both The Direct Connection's best customer and best saleswoman.
Jacque Hollander, in the ad
I'm the one with the long blond hair and the diamond headband. At The Direct Connection, Loehmann's Plaza, North Druid Hills Road and I-85.
Around Atlanta in the eighties, Jacque and Dean went to bars and parties and barbecues with a who's who of the Southern rock scene. They hung out with the Allman Brothers Band.
Lord I was born a ramblin' man...
That song, Ramblin' Man, was one of their many hits. Crazy things went down, like one night, the lead singer, Gregg Allman, took a drunken swing at somebody and accidentally hit Jacque.
I'm probably the only woman that can truthfully say Gregg Allman broke my nose.
Then there was this incident with Allen Collins, a guitarist for the Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. You've probably heard their biggest hit.
Sweet home Alabama, where the skies are so blue.
Anyway, Collins got in a scuffle with Jacque's husband, Dean Daughtry. When it was over, Collins just disappeared.
And everybody was looking for Allen Collins. And finally we get a call. And he was under a bush at a Waffle House passed out still, and we went and got him.
Jacque had a clear view of all this mayhem because she was clean and sober through it all. Drugs and alcohol just never appealed to her. I talked with Dean Daughtry a few years ago. He and Jacque got divorced in 1994 after 11 years of marriage. And they don't have a lot of nice things to say about each other, but they do agree on a few things.
Now, she didn't drink or do drugs. There's times that I said, Damn, I wish she would. Maybe it would calm her down.
Jacque was the den mother to the 1980s Atlanta music scene. She was always trying to get strung out rock stars into rehab. And it wasn't just rock stars she tried to help. She put on fundraisers for veterans because her father had served in the Navy. Fundraisers for children with cancer because she had survived cancer. Jacque looks back fondly on those days in the Atlanta music scene. She was cruising around the city in a pink Cadillac, wearing white cowboy boots and a rhinestone headband doing work that she loved. She was making money, making music, and having adventures with good friends. That all changed after she met James Brown for the second time. Decades later, she looks back on this part of her life and feels a deep sense of longing and of loss. There's a song she wrote that captured this feeling. She called it Malibu.
That was when I realized, when I was writing Malibu, that I could go back into my mind and I could find a place where I was at peace.
Oh Malibu, oh Malibu. There's diamonds in your sand.
Where does that take you? Where does that put you when you hear that song?
That song puts me back in to Lowery's Studio and into Paul Davis's studio. And all my friends that were so much a part of my life. My beautiful Atlanta that I would give anything to come home to. I've lost it all.
Would it be correct to say that none of none of it would have gone that way if if you hadn't written the Atlanta Falcons song?
Yes, Jacque wrote a song for the Atlanta Falcons football team in the eighties. She was feeling confident back then, capable of dreaming a big thing into existence. And that's what she did with the Falcons song. It would celebrate her favorite city and her favorite team. Even more importantly for Jacque, the record sales would fund cancer research and help needy children. Jacque knew some of the Falcons because they like to hang around backstage at Atlanta Rhythm Section shows. She talked several of them into singing background vocals. Now she just needed someone to sing lead and she had just the person in mind. Country singer Ronnie Milsap.
Smoky Mountain rain keeps on fallin'...
But the Falcons didn't want a country singer to sing the lead. They wanted the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Almost two decades after she first met James Brown at the airport, Jacque had grown up and become a songwriter. Things had changed for James Brown, too. By 1985, Brown was riding high on the success of his patriotic anthem for the Rocky IV soundtrack.
Living in American was his first big hit in many years, and it would turn out to be his last. Brown was over 50 now. Hounded by the IRS for unpaid taxes, reckoning with his own physical decline. But he was still an icon in the South, and the Falcons wanted him to sing the lead on the song Jacque wrote for them. So Jacque called up his lawyer Buddy Dallas, and asked if James Brown would sing this song. According to Jacque, Dallas said:
We'd be real honored to work with you if Mr. Brown decides he wants to do it. But I can't force Mr. Brown to do anything.
Buddy Dallas also told her that whether James Brown worked with her would depend.
Depending on what he thinks about your music and your way you look. That's the way it was.
I mean, that was. I don't know how to say this, right, but, like, weirdly honest?
Almost. I was honest, all right. I just didn't realize it.
Jacque was naive back then. James Brown's lawyer was asking her to send Brown a picture of herself. Only in retrospect did she see that as a red flag. At the time, no big deal. To get this record made, she needed James Brown. And to get James Brown, she had to send a picture. So Jacque sent the picture. She sent the song too. And some time later, Brown agreed to sing it. This was a big deal for Jacque. She wanted the proceeds from this song to help sick children. She'd gotten the Falcons on board, enlisted the help of many friends, including the great mix engineer Dave Pensado. But there was a big problem. As she waited at the studio to record the vocals for the song, the lead singer was nowhere to be found. James Brown was late. Really, really late. After hours of waiting, Jacque was furious. She was almost ready to quit.
Finally, somebody came running and said, There are limousines driving in, they're driving through.
It was a hot night in Georgia. The air still heavy from the afternoon rain. The Godfather of Soul stepped out of his limo around midnight, wearing a bright red shirt and a gray suit.
He walks through the door and he walks right past me. And I was introducing people. And James Brown never looked at me. He puts on his headphones and all of a sudden he screams, who wrote this song? I that was when I thought, you know, I've had enough of this cat. And I flung the door open from the studio room. And I slammed that door. And I went in to the studio room where they were all standing. And I screamed at him. I did. And what's wrong with it? And he looked at me and said, Nothing's wrong with it, it's great. Don't ever let them change a word of it. Let's get busy.
So they got to work. They both relaxed. At some point, she pulled him aside and took out the note he'd written at the airport almost 20 years earlier.
I reached into my pocket and I said, I brought you the song, as I promised. And he looked at the card and he kind of got tears in his eyes. That was the moment he took me under his wing.
Here's more of that unreleased studio session.
James Brown, recording
Spreading in the Heart of Dixie. It's gotten to me and you. We'll always have a great city. We had a dream.
Jacque Hollander, recording
James Brown, recording
But that's them. Then I say...
That woman talking to James Brown. That's a young Jacque.
Jacque Hollander, recording
Then you walk out, you know? You say you've got Falcon Fever and players will be going, "We've got it, too." And then you say, you'll be saying it's spreading in the Heart of Dixie. It's got–and they'll be behind you.
James Brown, recording
Jacque Hollander, recording
Then you'll start walking out and they'll be coming from behind you.
James Brown, recording
You make me think I'm going to be someplace, singing it someplace?
Jacque Hollander, recording
James Brown, recording
Sound kind of strong.
Jacque Hollander, recording
James Brown, recording
I sound kind of strong!
Eventually, Brown did perform this song live. It was about a year later at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, when the Falcons played Washington's pro football team in front of 50,000 fans. True to form, James Brown showed up late.
All I know is that one of the musicians said, We've heard he has landed at the airport, and they went by a police escort with motorcycles and and got him and brought him in the tunnel about 2 minutes before we went out onto the field. And I was about to have a stroke, and I opened the door for him, and he got out and Atlanta went nuts.
James Brown singing
We've always had a great city.
And we've always shared a dream.
James Brown singing
And I, now Atlanta, oh Atlanta has a team
I've seen pictures of Jacque and James on the field that afternoon. They were a striking pair. Brown, age 54, in a three piece gray suit, starched red shirt and red framed sunglasses. Jacque with her arm in his. The sun blazing on her sequined bow tie and rhinestone headband. She was 32 years old and felt as if she had done something very big in front of the people who mattered to her most. The residents of her hometown, Atlanta.
To pull off that kind of a thing, to look around and to see thousands and thousands of people on their feet screaming. To see them all there and all on their feet because of a stupid little dream that I had come up with was an unbelievable moment in my life.
After this, jacque and James kept working together. She wrote another song, this one for some pro-wrestler she knew. And Brown also agreed to sing lead on that one. Unlike Jacque's husband, who found her charity work annoying and expensive, James Brown seemed excited to work with Jacque for the public good. He'd been doing this kind of thing for decades. One time he played a show for young detainees at Rikers Island, and in 1966, he released this song.
So kids, say in school, don't be no drag. Take a fool's advice and stay out of that bag.
Over and over. James Brown repeated the same message to young people in America: Stay off drugs and stay in school. Brown himself had dropped out of school, getting a different kind of education on the streets of Augusta, Georgia. His mother had walked out on the family when he was a kid. His father went to work and often left little James alone. Brown taught himself to get by. He wore ragged clothes and sometimes stole to survive, even after his music made him rich and famous, he didn't forget where he'd come from. On the streets of his hometown, Brown was well known for his generosity. His former bodyguard, Richard Glenn, told me a story about that.
He went down there on Main Street. And gave out fifty-dollar bills and hundred dollar bills to the public.
James Brown and Jacque both loved helping people. It wasn't just music that connected them. Jacque had been a sick child and James Brown had been a poor child. Together, they visited sick children in hospitals. Around this time, Brown did something remarkable.
James Brown decided to give all of his wealth to the poor and the needy kids.
Brown's lawyer confirmed this. He helped Jacque and James create the I Feel Good Trust, a legal entity that would help children in need. I mean, this is kind of a big deal like what you're saying and what James Brown's lawyer, Buddy Dallas, was saying in this sworn affidavit is that basically, as a result of James Brown working with you, he decided to give his entire fortune to poor and needy children.
And as she worked with James Brown, Jacque also got to know his wife, Adrienne, who would become one of the most important people in Jacque's life.
And from the moment I met A, she became my my best buddy.
Adrienne grew up in Los Angeles and worked as a makeup artist on the TV show Solid Gold. That's where she met James Brown. James wrote in his autobiography, "It wasn't love at first sight. It was recognition at first sight. Our souls had met a long time before."
Hi. Good evening. This is Adrienne's Time. Welcome to my show. This evening, I have some superstars with us. For instance, I have the star of Miami Vice, Philip Michael Thomas, is here with us tonight. The Godfather of Soul...
That's a rare clip of Adrienne on a TV show pilot. She's in a shiny black jacket with voluminous black hair and the flawless rouge and eyeshadow you might expect from a professional makeup artist. Adrienne had this big personality. She and Jacque just clicked.
You know, we started talking and it was like I'd known her forever.
When Jacque met Adrienne around 1986, they hit it off right away. They both loved steakhouses, Chinese restaurants and Krispy Kreme donuts. One day, Jacque says, Adrienne got a shovel and unearthed a pile of cash. James Brown often buried money instead of putting it in the bank. And Adrienne and Jacque went on a shopping spree. They bought all the makeup they could find at the local Kmart.
We laughed a lot. I mean, that girl could make you laugh, okay? She had the funniest personality of anybody I've ever met.
Meanwhile, Jacque kept working with Brown. In the late eighties, she noticed a change in his behavior. He seemed to be getting more and more paranoid, more suspicious that the government was watching him. One time Atlanta rhythm section singer Shaun Williamson rode with Brown to a recording session. On that ride, Brown claimed the FBI had installed cameras in the rearview mirror of his Lincoln. And at that session, Brown grew suspicious of Shawn, too.
And he goes, That one over there, he's a government agent. And I said, That's Shawn. Mr. Brown, our singer, is not a government agent. And he goes, Yes, he is. You just don't know it. But he he works for the United States government.
So Jacque asked Shawn to leave the recording studio for a while, and the cloud of suspicion blew over. But another time, James Brown called Jacque to say he believed he was being watched.
And then he went on to tell me that I needed to be careful because the United States government was listening to my telephone and the CIA was all involved in this and that I needed to drive to Augusta to talk to him. And I did. It's a very lengthy conversation about the United States government in his life and that his home was bugged.
Jacque says Adrienne also thought the government was watching them.
She informed me that that house had wires in it and that everything we were saying in there was being recorded. And this was when she became afraid for her life and that she didn't know which bugs belonged to who.
But that wasn't the main thing Adrienne talked about with Jacque, at least not at first.
We saw each other as sisters, but mostly she was confiding in me about the abuse. She was a very, very, very battered woman. James Brown was denying it, but behind the scenes, this woman was getting her teeth knocked out three and four separate times.
Jacque didn't know it at the time, but James Brown had a long history of violence against women. His former backup singer, Marva Whitney, wrote in her memoir that Brown held a gun to her head. His daughter, Yamma wrote in her memoir about listening through a closed bedroom door for the sound of Brown beating her mother. Not long after James split up with Yamma's mother. He got together with Adrienne Brown. Adrienne knew domestic violence all too well. As a child growing up in South L.A., Adrienne and her sister, used to hide in the closet from their abusive grandmother. Decades later, when Adrienne was married to James Brown, she sometimes called her sister from a different closet. Only now, Adrienne was hiding from her husband. More than once, Adrienne called the authorities to report the abuse.
Has he been drinking anything, Mrs. Brown?
That's a recording of one of several 911 calls Adrienne made. She said James Brown abused her, but the charges never stuck. In the call we just played for you, Adrienne is telling that 911 dispatcher that her husband has been using dope, probably referring to PCP. For most of his life, Brown avoided drugs and heavy drinking, but sometime in the seventies or eighties, this famous anti-drug spokesman started using PCP, a hallucinogenic drug with all kinds of terrible side effects. It's hard to say why exactly.
What do you have to say to your fans that think you might have a drug problem, Mr. Brown?
I don't have a drug problem. We gotta keep the kids clean.
It wasn't just James. Adrienne was accused of PCP possession as well.
One day after her husband, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, was released on a $24,000 bond for possession of phencyclidine, or PCP, among other charges, Adrienne Brown was arrested today, also for possession of PCP.
Mrs. Brown, what are you being charged with?
I don't know, and this is not right.
Jacque loved Adrienne. She kept a note from Adrienne that said, "To Jacque, my sister, stay beautiful." They were that close. But Jacque was caught in the middle of the Brown's troubled marriage. Jacque was making music and doing charity work with James Brown, the same man accused of repeated acts of domestic violence against her friend.
I wanted to help her at whatever cost. She was my friend and I wasn't going to desert her. I was already getting screamed at by Dean and all my friends. Why are you hanging out with these people? You're going to end up getting hurt. You know, I was warned many times.
Yeah. You had gotten the recording for the Falcon song and everything. I mean, why not just walk away? At that point, you had what you needed.
What the world didn't know was I had him on that wrestling project with me, and I had already signed on for these projects, and they had to be completed.
The wrestling project was the song Jacque wrote to promote the American Wrestling Association, a rival of the more famous WWF. Several pro wrestlers sang backup on her song, and the Godfather of Soul sang the lead.
We're rowdy! We're rough! We're hungry! And mean! We'll send the wimps home
So it was always like there was one more thing you needed from him. So you just kept pushing ahead because there was one last thing.
Yeah, it was under contract. I had to. I had to get it done. I couldn't just say, okay, everybody hasta manana.
And even more importantly, Jacque was still working with James on the I Feel Good Trust, a project that could help a lot of needy children. It's hard to know how much Brown's fortune was worth then, especially with all his tax liabilities. But in 2021, his estate would be sold for about $90 million. One day in 1988, Jacque met Brown at his office in Augusta to talk more about the I Feel Good Trust. Brown's lawyer Buddy Dallas was there, too. Dallas declined to be interviewed for this podcast, and he declined to answer a list of questions I sent. He said the questions were out of touch with reality and said I'd been totally misled by Jacque. Anyway, that day at the office in 1988, Jacque saw a side of James Brown she'd never seen for herself before, only heard about from Adrienne. She says it happened after Buddy Dallas told Brown to reconsider his decision to give all his money to charity.
Mr. Brown as your lawyer, I've got to advise you that you have kids and you can't leave your kids out of the will. And Mr. Brown jumped over the desk. James Brown was screaming with his hands on him, You will never tell me what the [bleep] to do with my money. And I really thought he was going to beat the living daylights out of Mr. Dallas that day. I thought he was going to kill him. And I started crying.
Next, Jacque says Brown asked her to leave, to go buy herself Brunswick stew from a takeout stand around the corner. She did. And when she came back, things seemed normal again. As they kept working out the details of the I Feel Good Trust. Jacque looked out the window toward the parking lot and noticed a big black van with gold rims.
I remember looking over going, Wow, look at that. Whose is that? And James Brown said, This is mine. Muhammad Ali did it for me. And Mr. Dallas said, Why don't you take Jacque D. for a ride in that? Because we had already pretty much finalized everything.
James Brown agreed, inviting Jacque out to the black van with the gold rims. Their business meeting was over. And now he said they would go to a nearby dealership where he was having a car customized for one of his daughters. He wanted to show it to Jacque. It wouldn't take long.
I remember coming down the walkway and Buddy Dallas saying to me, Look, Jacque D, the daffodils are in bloom. I remember looking. There were all these beautiful daffodils going down the walkway. Because I loved daffodils.
34 years later, Jacque vividly remembers the moment she saw the daffodils. It has become the dividing line in her life because after that day, she was never the same.
That was the last moment. Of me.
Now, here's the hardest part of Jacque's story. I'd known her for six months before she could bring herself to tell me all of it. You're wondering why Jacque lives in fear today? Why she's always talking about what might get her killed? It all comes back to this day in 1988. When James Brown walked out to the van that spring afternoon, he was carrying a shotgun. But Jacquie didn't find that strange. Brown often carried firearms.
There was no fear in me at all. I figured he didn't have his security, so he was just carrying it to protect himself. I got into the van. He got into the van. He wedged the shotgun between his seat and a console that was in that van.
This little excursion to the car dealership would take just a few minutes, or so Brown said. But Jacque says when they got to the dealership, Brown disappeared into an office and was gone for almost an hour. As Jacque waited for Brown, she hoped she wouldn't be late for dinner. Jacque's husband, Dean, was waiting for her about ten miles away in Grovetown. His sister was making fried chicken. Jacque never saw the car james Brown said he would show her. Without explanation, brown came back and drove to a gas station. He asked Jacque to go in and buy a Coke for each of them and some hard candy for him. She returned with the Cokes and Jolly Ranchers.
All of a sudden he turned at me and he started screaming at me like crazy. And he said, You did not bring me a hundred Jolly Ranchers.
If you're confused right now, so was Jacque. This arbitrary exercise of power was new to her, just as it was new to her earlier that afternoon when Brown lashed out in rage at Buddy Dallas. Jacque had known James Brown for years, and she'd never seen him like this before. But she went back for more candy.
And there was a lady behind the counter, and she saw me crying and she said, Oh, the eccentric Mr. Brown.
Was there ever a part of you as you went back in the store thinking like, I'm not coming back. I'm just I'm just going to walk off here?
Not at that time, no. I just thought, you know, that I was headed back to my car.
You still thought he was going to drive you back to your pink Cadillac and you would go home?
Jacque says after she returned with more Jolly Ranchers, James Brown left the gas station and got on the highway. He said he wanted to show her something. Brown gripped the wheel and pressed the accelerator.
It is as clear to me right now, sitting right here, looking out my window, I can see the window of the van and I could see the trees and the sun. It was a really beautiful day and there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the trees were very, very still. He said to me, Look in the seat behind me. My wife left a pack of cigarettes and I remember having to turn around and crawl kind of over that console. And I got the pack of cigarettes and I handed it to him.
At the time they seemed like ordinary cigarettes. Later, Jacque would come to believe they were laced with Brown's drug of choice, PCP, or angel dust, which can cause hallucinations and give the user a false sense of superhuman strength.
And he smoked the whole cigarette, and he started just going insane. He picked up speed to, like, 100 in that van, and he started mumbling. And then I noticed the right side of his face start twitching.
For a moment, Jacque thought he was having a stroke. Whatever it was, she was clearly in danger.
I remember looking out at the cement and I was thinking about jumping. But he was going too fast. And I knew if I jumped out that I would be dead. And I remember thinking, God, I wish the police were here. Where are the police when you need them?
She says Brown drove from Augusta, Georgia, across the state line into South Carolina. At some point, he turned the van off the highway and drove into the woods, going off road in the middle of nowhere. Not another car, house or person in sight.
I remember just, just thousands and thousands of pine trees. And he was driving through them and hitting them.
I think I know what kind of woods Jacque is describing here. In this part of the South. Some people make money by growing pine trees and selling them to timber companies. So if it's early in the cycle, there could be hundreds of these slender pine saplings all crowded together. It would be easy in a big van to hit a few and keep driving.
I was crying then, begging him to please stop. And he wouldn't. He basically crashed the van and he was just staring straight forward. I'll never forget it. And he had these black gloves on his hands and said, Get in the back of the van, Mrs. Daughtry.
And just a warning here. The next 5 minutes of this story are a graphic retelling of a violent sexual assault.
And when I got back there, he told me to take my clothes off. And I said, I don't want to do that. Please don't do this. And that's when he said, I'm not going to ask you again. To take your clothes off. If you don't take them off, I am going to do it. He grabbed the shotgun and he came into the back of the van through the seats, and he put the shotgun right into my face. I believed 100% that he was going to kill me at that moment in time. There was no compassion in him. There was no mercy. And he just started ripping me to pieces like I was a ragdoll. Slamming my head into the side of the van. And I remember that that Frank Sinatra song kept playing over and over, and it was Fly Me to the Moon. And at one point, I remember looking down into the van. I thought I had died and I was watching it from above. The pain was so intense that my my mind couldn't even grab on to the amount of pain that was in me. And I remember saying to him, Just kill me. And I thought about my mom. I thought about my mom finding me out in the woods with no clothes on. And I ask God to please let me live.
Jacque says the rape lasted a very long time. She says Brown seemed to be high on drugs out of his mind. Nothing like the person she had known and worked with for years before then. She remembers the rear door of the van had come partially opened. Jacque could see fog out there and distant lights from a highway. For a moment, she thought she could escape.
I had tried to go out through the broken door in the back, and he grabbed my leg. And jerked me back in.
Finally, Jacque said something that seemed to bring James Brown back to reality.
I said, my husband's going to be looking for me. Deany's going to come looking for me. And they know I'm with you. That's the first time his eyes kind of looked at me like, he realized what I was saying.
Brown left Jacque in the back of the van.
He got behind the wheel and he was hitting trees and everything to get out of there. And somehow he made it to his office.
James Brown's lawyer, Buddy Dallas, told me later he doubted that Brown had ever hurt Jacque. He wrote in an email, The alleged assault is without merit, and I know it. But Jacque insists that Brown raped her in the woods that night. When they got back to the office. Jacque was dazed and bleeding. She tried to gather her things from the back of the van.
I didn't get everything. My rhinestone headband was lost and a bracelet and one of my earrings was gone. I just remember being in a lot of pain and feeling like I was dead. I remember grabbing my boots and walking barefoot in the cold and getting in the car, and I don't even remember how I got out of there. But somehow I did and I was headed back towards Grovetown and I saw the van come barreling out at a high rate of speed after me trying to push my car off the side of the road.
She hadn't gotten away quite yet. There once again was the black van with the gold rims, and there behind the wheel was James Brown.
I finally pulled over and he he got out of the van and he came around and he was beating on my window and I would not roll it down. And I was hysterical and I was hitting my horn as hard as I could, hoping that somebody would see. And I remember him screaming in the background, You forgot to tell me you loved me. And I hit the gas pedal and I just took off.
A broken woman in a pink Cadillac hurtling down the highway in the dark. She had no idea what lay ahead. What else would happen to her and to her friend, Adrienne Brown? The forces that would align against both of them, not just James Brown, but a large and powerful organization that surrounded him. Something Adrienne called a machine. On the next episode of The James Brown Mystery.
She started informing me that the house was wired and that our cars were wired and that possibly that van was wired, everything was wired, recording devices and tapings and that kind of stuff.
Was she saying that James Brown was at the center of a large criminal organization?
Yes, she did. 100%. She told me that there was a lot of drugs and that it was very dangerous and it was actually frightening and that he had government ties and that the government was watching. She said, one of us is going to die or both of us.
The James Brown Mystery is hosted and reported by me, Thomas Lake. Our executive producer is Abbie Fentress Swanson. Our senior producer is Felicia Patinkin and our producers are Rachel Cohn, Ann Lagamayo, Lori Galarreta and Jennifer Lai. Our associate producers are Emmanuel Johnson, Nathan Miller and Sonia Htoon, and our production assistant is Eden Getachew. Our story editor is David Weinberg and our production manager is Tameeka Ballance-Kolasny. Liz Roberts and Kyra Posey lead audience strategy for our show, and Jamus Andrest and Nichole Pesaru redesigned our artwork. Erica Huang is our mix engineer and sound designer. Celena Urabe is our assistant sound engineer and Dan Dzula is CNN Audio's Senior Manager of Production Operations. Theme and original music composed by David Steinberg and Nathan Miller. Special thanks to Mia Taylor, Courtney Coupe, Katie Hinman, Lindsay Abrams, Robert Mathers, Dalila Paul, Andrea White, Anissa Gray, Johnita Due, Ram Ramgopal, Lisa Namerow and Jon Dianora. If you're a survivor of sexual assault and you're looking for support, help is available at the National Sexual Assault Hotline. Learn more at RAINN.org or call 1-800-656-HOPE.